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PA Civil War Volunteer Soldiers

Ninth Regiment

Regimental History

9th PA Regimental History

The Ninth regiment was formed from companies, assembled at Camp Curtin, from widely separated sections of the State. These companies were recruited by the men who afterwards became their officers, and arrived in camp from the 20th to the 23rd of April, 1861. Without any previous concert of action, with a view to a regimental organization, ten companies were brought together, and the regiment was organized by the choice of the following officers: Henry C. Longnecker, of Allentown, Lehigh county, Colonel; W. H. R. Hangen, of Allentown, Lehigh county, Lieutenant Colonel; Charles Glantz, of Easton, Northampton county, Major. Thomas S. Bell, of West Chester, was appointed Adjutant. At the time of the choice of officers Colonel Longnecker was in New York city, but immediately on being informed of his election, hastened to Harrisburg, and joined his regiment. From the date of its organization, April 23rd, to May 4th, it remained at Camp Curtin, during which time it received arms and accoutrements, and was subjected to daily drill.

On the 4th of May, the regiment proceeded by rail to West Chester, arriving about nine o'clock in the evening, in the midst of a severe storm of now and sleet. No provision had been made by the government for food or quarters for the troops; but they were cordially welcomed by the citizens, and provided with every thing necessary for their comfort; and so long as they remained in the vicinity of the town, they received frequent and substantial tokens of kindness. The courthouse, and a commodious public school building, were thrown open for their reception. A healthy and beautiful location was selected for a camp, which was designated by Colonel Longnecker, the commandant, Camp Wayne, in honor of General Anthony Wayne, this being the immediate neighborhood of his revolutionary exploits. The regiment practiced company and battalion drill with great assiduity. A few days later, the Eleventh regiment, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Coulter, joined the Ninth, at camp Wayne, where Colonel Longnecker had erected permanent quarters of lumber, the government not having furnished tents. It was some time before clothing was provided, and, when received, it proved to be of inferior quality.

The Ninth regiment moved by rail on the 26th of May, via Philadelphia, to Wilmington, Delaware. It was ascertained that bands of disloyal citizens were in camps of instruction, preparing to join the rebels, and this regiment was thrown into the State to encourage and strengthen the loyal sentiment, and to prevent the sending of troops to the rebel army. A camp was formed at Hare's Corners, at the intersection of the road leading from Wilmington to New Castle, and the great highway running parallel to the Delaware river, some three or four miles from New Castle. Remaining here until the 6th of June, the regiment was ordered to join General Patterson's command, at Chambersburg, to which place it proceeded by the Northern Central and Cumberland Valley roads. The Ninth was attached to the 4th Brigade, of the 1st Division, commanded by Colonel Dixon S. Miles, of the Regular army, who was subsequently killed at Harper's Ferry. On Thursday, the 13th of June, the Brigade crossed the river from Chambersburg on the road to Greencastle, and encamped near the Rhode Island command of Governor Sprague, and the regiment of Colonel Burnside.

Advancing to the Potomac, on Sunday, the 16th of June, Miles' Brigade crossed the river, the Ninth holding the right of the column, and encamped about three miles from the stream, on the road from Williamsport to Martinsburg. The ferry at Williamsport had been destroyed by the rebels, and the troops were obliged to wade, the water reaching to the arm pits of the smaller men of the command. On the 17th of June, Colonel Miles, with his detachment of the Second, Third and Eighth regiments of U.S. infantry, was ordered to Washington. He accordingly turned over the command of the balance of the Brigade to Colonel Longnecker, the ranking officer, and ordered him to return to Williamsport with the three volunteer regiments, and report in person to the commanding General of the Division, Major General Cadwalader. Recrossing the river, the Brigade encamped near the ford, which it was commanded to hold. In this camp the regiment remained, drilling, performing picket duty, and experiencing the varied alarms incident to an inexperienced soldiery, until July 1st, when the whole army, in and about Williamsport, began to move across the river, in the direction of Martinsburg. The enemy under Jackson having been driven back in the engagement at Falling Waters, the Ninth encamped on the following night on a portion of the battleground. Advancing on the following day to Martinsburg, it went into camp, where it remained till the 15th of July, when the 4th Brigade moved out on the Winchester pike, to Bunker Hill.

As early as the 8th of July, a general forward movement had been decided on by the commanding General, with the design of giving battle to the enemy concentrated at Winchester and Bunker Hill, and the order had been issued for the army to move in two columns, led by the Brigades of Thomas and Stone. But before the movement had commenced, General Patterson was induced to hold a conference with his principal officers, at which the opposition to an attack was so decided that the order for the advance was countermanded. The means of transporting supplies were inadequate, and the difficulty of guarding the line was increasing with everyday's advance. The tenacity with which the enemy held his position at Winchester, and fortified himself against all approaches from Bunker Hill, indicated a confidence in his ability to successfully hold it. In an entrenched camp, miles in extent, and well provided with artillery and cavalry, the rebel leader, with every advantage in his favor, was evidently willing to give battle. Subsequent experience has abundantly shown the hazard of attacking fortified positions with even superior forces. A communication, forwarded from the War Department three days later, showed that the intentions of the enemy were correctly interpreted by this Council of War.

On the 17th of July, Colonel Longnecker's Brigade moved from Bunker Hill towards Charlestown, and encamped that evening in the vicinity of the town. Remaining here until the 21st, it moved to Harper's Ferry, where it crossed the Potomac, fording the river near the ruins of the National armory, and encamped about a mile back on the Maryland side. On the 22nd of July the Ninth regiment, Colonel Longnecker, and the Thirteenth, Colonel Rowley, were ordered to march the same day for Hagerstown, and thence by rail to Harrisburg, the period of enlistment having expired. Arriving at Harrisburg on the 24th, the men were paid, and mustered out of service. This regiment was well drilled, and under excellent discipline, and had opportunity offered, would doubtless have shown good soldierly qualities in battle. The health of the men throughout the term of service was good, no serious sickness prevailing, and the regiment suffered no loss by death or desertion.

Source: Bates, Samuel P. (Samuel Penniman), 1827-1902.: History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5; prepared in compliance with acts of the legislature, by Samuel P. Bates.

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